Where Do Asian Black Bears Live?

An Asiatic black bear.
An Asiatic black bear.

The Asian black bear is one of the eight extant species of bear. It is classified as vulnerable by the IUCN due to hunting and deforestation. The bear once roamed as far as Western Europe, but it is currently limited to Southeastern Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Himalayas of India, and Southeast Asia except for Malaysia. It is patchily found in and northeastern China but absent in east-central China. Small populations are found in Russia’s Far East and the northern end of the Korean Peninsula. The Asiatic black bear inhabits deciduous, thornbush, and mixed forests. During summer it prefers altitudes of about 11,480 ft and is rarely found above 12,000 ft, but during the winter it descends to as low as 4,920 ft. There is no conclusive estimate on the number of Asiatic black bears, but there could be as many as 70,000. They are primarily nocturnal, but sometimes venture out during the daytime to feed. Black bears are solitary animals and only come together when competing for territory or mating. Many of the bears in the colder regions hibernate, but those in warmer climates do not.

Distribution And Status Of Asian Black Bear In Some Range Countries


The Asiatic black bear is found in several parts of Bangladesh, especially in the Chittagong Hill, but their numbers are low and are soon likely to be extinct in the country if no conservation efforts are made. Between 2008 and 2010, the Wildlife Trust of Bangladesh surveyed the population of bears and revealed that the Asiatic black bear occupied patchy habitats in the southeastern, northeastern and north-central regions of the country.


There are three subspecies of the Asiatic black bear in China; the Tibetan, northeastern, and the Sichuan subspecies. The northeastern subspecies is the only bear found in northeastern China. The Asiatic black bear is distributed in temperate and cold conifer forests of northeast China from the Xing’an Mountains to Chang Ba. The Chinese government estimates that there are about 28,000 Asian black bears in the country.


In Siberia, the bear’s range extends from Innokenti Bay along the coast of the Sea of Japan to the mountainous region of Sikhote Alin. They are also found along the Amur River into the northern edges of Lake Bolon and the broad-leaved Manchurian forests of Ussuri krai. There are about 6,000 Asian black bears in Russia.

South Korea

The South Korean population inhabits the broad-leaved forest in the Alpine region above 5,000 ft. In April 2018, 14 mother bears gave birth to 19 babies increasing the wild population of bears in Jirisan to 56. The National Park Service hopes that by 2020 the population will rise to 150 as it seeks to repopulate national parks and improve the natural habitat of black bears.


More in Environment